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Old 09-10-2004, 04:08 AM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Distribution: Slackware 10.0
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Firefox font detection

Hello all, Linux newb here. I just recently started Linux (Slackware 10,0 under 2.4.26, decided to dive right in ), and it's been great... except for one small little irritant which will become quite major if I don't get it fixed soon.

I installed Firefox 0.9.3 (I've been in love with it ever since I first used it on Windows), and it has a problem with what I believe is detecting system fonts. It first came up as an issue when I visited sites that have foreign characters/pictograms (namely, Chinese); instead of displaying the characters, in their place were graphic boxes with the character's unicode hexadecimal label inside of them. I did a bit more looking around, and it similarly happens with other East and South Asian languages, Arabic, Russian, Greek (though strangely a few like alpha are properly displayed), and even special Western characters (such as French c with a cedilla).

I have character encoding set default on UTF-8; even when I switch to any other encoding, the letters or characters are not displayed. I know that my system supports these languages and has the requisite fonts because Netscape can display them all without incident. I was totally at a loss as to what to do at first, but then I noticed that Netscape has the font set to adobe-times-iso8859-1 and has a goodly number of my system fonts available as fonts. Firefox, in contrast, listed only a few dummy fonts, like nondescript "serif," "sans serif," and "monospace." I'm guessing that these fonts only support basic Roman characters, and I need to use another--such as adobe-times-iso8859-1--in order for the full set of characters to be displayed. But I don't know how to make Firefox recognize my installed system fonts. I've looked at the online documentation and googled my butt off, but I couldn't discover any firefox configuration file that would let me put down the correct font path to use.

Of course lots of this is speculation and I could be totally off my rocker, but that's what I think at least. Any advice, or ideas about where I might be wrong? Thank you very much in advance, and I'll get more info if I was too general.
Old 09-10-2004, 04:42 AM   #2
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Behind You!
Distribution: Slackware 10 | SmoothWall 2.0 | FreeBSD 4.8
Posts: 56

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I had the same problem with chinese/japanese site fonts.

I solved it by installing Mikachan font into /usr/X11/lib/X11/fonts/TTF/ and adding
FontPath "/usr/X11/lib/X11/fonts/TTF/"
to my xorg.conf file.

After restsrting X, asian fonts work fine in Firefox.
Old 09-10-2004, 05:45 AM   #3
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Cool, I'll try it out. Thanks... hope it works!
Old 09-10-2004, 06:35 AM   #4
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It'll be awhile before I understand Linux... it be doing some strange things.

I did your method and... partial success. A good propotion (probably like 4/5) of Chinese characters work, but not all of them. Even weirder, Russian started working. A bit counterintuitive, no?

And Firefox still doesn't list the font in its font selection option in preferences. Not a huge problem, but I still like to know what it's doing and why it's doing it. I guess I'll tinker some more.
Old 10-10-2004, 07:06 AM   #5
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Israel
Distribution: slackware current kernel 2.6.9
Posts: 70

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Hey, I have just the same problem... no russian fonts... has anyone solved this problem already?

I did include the cyrillic fonts in the font path... I tried various methods people in xorg irc channel suggested but nothing helped...

It can't be that the only font's I can use are chineese (for russian... that indeed works)

I see all the fonts in mozilla font selection, but I get the chineese variant all the time, not matter what I choose. And if I delete it, I get these boxes..

I tried to download various ttf files from various russian sites, but nothing changes.

Now as I got desperate, I've copied MS Windows Fonts to my /usr/share/fonts directory and everything works perfectly.
If anyone knows other good cyrillic fonts THAT WORK please tell me.

Last edited by alexrait1; 10-10-2004 at 08:57 AM.


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